Bangladesh and Sri Lanka meet with Super Eight implications

Sri Lanka

Match details

Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka
June 7, Dallas, 7:30pm local

Big picture: A new rivalry in a big game

It is still hard to understand why this is a rivalry but given the nature of this game in the T20 World Cup, there will certainly be plenty riding on it. With three Full Members in Group D alongside Netherlands and Nepal, the winner on Friday might just be better placed to make the Super Eights.

From sledging and baiting on the field, to mocking each other during trophy celebrations, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have done everything possible to create an edge to this contest. It has become a pseudo-enmity that cricket fans from both sides have started to enjoy. Move over, India-Pakistan. It would be a huge surprise if both sets of players haven’t planned a new way to get under each other’s skin. But on the field, they cannot let emotions take over. Sri Lanka have just been crushed by South Africa. Bangladesh are showing some of their worst form in T20Is. It is not a time to fool around.

Sri Lanka looked like batting unit with too many ideas against South Africa. It didn’t seem like they were having trouble with what was coming their way, even when it was pitched short. Their problem was they kept finding the fielders in the deep. If they had allowed themselves to try hitting along the ground instead of lofting everything out of the park, Sri Lanka may have had a better total than 77 that day. But now they have a chance to do better and an opposition against whom they’ve had recent success. Kusal Mendis, especially, rises to the occasion every time he faces Bangladesh. Sri Lanka won their last bilateral T20I series in March, with Mendis hitting two fifties, and Nuwan Thushara getting a hat-trick in the third game.

That’s reason enough for Bangladesh to get fired up too. They have had a real struggle in T20Is this year. They lost to Sri Lanka, following it up with a 4-1 win against Zimbabwe but not totally convincingly. The 2-1 defeat against USA was a shocking result. They were gun shy with their batting. They lacked awareness and adaptability. USA head coach Stuart Law said that Bangladesh did not seem hungry enough to win. The warm-up match defeat to India further exposed Bangladesh’s lack of form and energy. They will be desperate to prove the talk of stability and potential within their ranks holds some truth.

Form guide

Bangladesh WLLLWW (last five completed T20Is, most recent first)
Sri Lanka LWLWL

In the spotlight – Najmul Hossain Shanto and Kusal Mendis

Najmul Hossain Shanto has just a single fifty in ten T20I innings this year. His troubles date even further back, to the BPL, when he didn’t really contribute much for Sylhet Strikers. The Bangladesh captain, however, has shown he can fight back from difficult situations, as he did in 2022, and his team would love for that to start now.

Bangladesh is Kusal Mendis‘ favorite opposition. They are the team against whom he’s scored the most runs in every format of cricket. When Mendis ran into poor form this year after the T20I series against Afghanistan and Zimbabwe, he made 181 runs in the three matches against Bangladesh. He will be looking forward to having another good day.

Team news: Taskin likely to return for Bangladesh

Taskin Ahmed has started bowling at full pelt after his hamstring injury, but Shoriful Islam, who injured his hand during the warm-up game against India on June 1, remains a concern. Mustafizur Rahman and Tanzim Hasan are the other seamers in the Bangladesh squad.

Bangladesh (probable): 1 Tanzid Hasan, 2 Soumya Sarkar, 3 Najmul Hossain Shanto (capt), 4 Towhid Hridoy, 5 Shakib Al Hasan, 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Jaker Ali (wk), 8 Mahedi Hasan, 9 Rishad Hossain, 10 Tanzim Hasan, 11 Mustafizur Rahman

Sri Lanka are likely to play Dushmantha Chameera in place of either Nuwan Thushara or Maheesh Theekshana, based on conditions.

Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Pathum Nissanka, 2 Kusal Mendis (wk), 3 Kamindu Mendis, 4 Sadeera Samarawickrama, 5 Charith Asalanka, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Dasun Shanaka, 8 Wanindu Hasaranga (capt), 9 Maheesh Theekshana, 10 Matheesha Pathirana, 11 Nuwan Thushara

Pitch and conditions: Better for run-scoring

Dallas hosted the high-scoring opener between USA and Canada, but then Nepal were bowled out for 106 against the Netherlands. It is still expected to be a good batting pitch. The weather is set fair with no rain in the forecast.

Stats that matter

  • Kusal Mendis had favourable match-ups against Mahedi Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed and Rishad Hossain during the T20I series between these two sides in March. Against these four bowlers, Mendis had a collective strike-rate of 172.72 with two dismissals.
  • Sri Lanka have won both their T20 World Cup fixtures against Bangladesh, in 2007 and 2021.
  • Bangladesh are the first team to lose 100 T20Is. Sri Lanka are close by on 99 defeats in the format.
  • Taskin Ahmed and Shoriful Islam are regarded as Bangladesh’s lead fast bowlers but the team has lost 17 out of 22 T20Is that the pair has played together.

Quotes

“I personally don’t want to see this match differently. Of course, it is a very important match and we all know that. So, instead of thinking much, it is very important to execute the plan we have made as we have prepared. It is important how we can execute the plans with a cool mind on that particular day.”
Bangladesh captain Najmul Hossain Shanto

“I think we have played good cricket against Bangladesh in the recent past. So, we have that confidence and momentum going through this game.”
Sri Lanka batting coach Thilina Kandamby on their side regaining confidence

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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